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Dead or Alive 5: Last Round Impressions: Strike Fast and Become the Best

A new Dead or Alive Tournament is around the corner with Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. We get hands-on with the fighting game to see how the 3D fighting game throws down on the new generation of consoles.

DOA5 maintains the fast-paced fighting that fans are used to, without sacrificing graphical fidelity. The game works at 1080p, 60 fps, and features heavy character animations including panting, sweat, and dirt stains after a match. I got some collegues together and played a series of matches on a PlayStation 4 using a variety of characters on casual setting, and the moves are lightning fast. More skilled players can take advantage of the "pro" setting, which likely makes tweaks to the health and damage system. However, we weren't advanced enough to notice a difference.

The controls take a little getting used to compared to other fighting games, especially since the game has dedicated buttons for blocks and counters, but combos are remarkably easy to pick up. It wasn't long before we started chaining together punches and kicks for devastating combos. However, like in previous Dead or Alive 5 games, Critical Combos have a damage limit. The combo automatically cuts off when the limit is reached, and the player is momentarily vulnerable to retaliation using a Critical Burst - a blast move that looks suspiciously like a Hadouken, but without the projectile. Landing a Critical Burst right before the Critical Combo ends makes the opponent leaves them completely open. They can't block or perform holds.

Timing Critical Bursts and counters can be very tricky, since you have to keep a close eye on the action, which is usually moving at a hyper pace. The Square button is dedicated to blocking, but moving the character backward will also block automatically. With the strategic use of blocks, players can pull off counters to overcome the best combos. Counters need precise timing to catch kicks and punches. Even grabs require a keen eye for openings. Although I got in a few lucky shots, I didn't quite get the hang of counters as well as my opponents did. But even with a heavy reliance on strikes and dodges, I was able to hold my own in some very close matches.

With a total of 34 characters, the single player campaign features several different stories, all somehow linked to a new Dead or Alive Tournament. Storylines include a global chase for a biological weapon cloned from Kasumi, and other up-and-coming fighting looking to make their mark on the world. Through it, players are able to try out many, if not all, the available characters and the signature, multi-level, interactive environments the DOA series is known for. The game features 31 levels in total.

Other features include costume customizations before a match. Players can improve their skills by using a statistics analyzer, which keeps track of every hit you make and character preferences, among other useful information. Coupled with the replay system, those looking to up their game will have the tools to do it.

Even though I'm an average fighting game player at best, I quickly became comfortable playing Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. The precise timing and counters require some getting used to, but the fighting is fast paced and the combos are very easy to pick up. The game releases for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 on February 17, and PC on March 30th..

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